HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - As Oahu's emergency rooms fill to the brink, more civilian patients are being taken to Tripler Army Medical Center. The military is adjusting to the recent Hawaii Medical Center closures. Tripler has been accepting non-trauma civilian patients brought in by ambulance for years. Tripler officials said the number of civilian cases has roughly doubled since the facilities in Ewa and Liliha closed their doors. Instead of one or two every other day, Tripler is now seeing two to three daily since other hospitals are full and rerouting emergency patients.
"In the past it was very little because with these other two hospitals open, very rarely did we go on divert. The situation has become a lot more acute now. There's no question it's become more acute. We feel it. The patients that we're receiving are ill," said Navy Capt. Jose Acosta, Deputy Commander of Clinical Services.
Tripler is also working on a deal with the state to become Oahu's second trauma center. The process that started a couple of years ago. Acosta estimated that 5% to 10% of the trauma victims on Oahu are from the military community. The designation requires training, education, and the hiring of additional personnel. Tripler hopes to finalize negotiations with the state in the next several months. The agreement would allow the hospital to accept civilian trauma patients in the emergency room.